The song of the day for Wednesday, January 20, 2021, is “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe.”
We are pleased to present today’s song in honor of the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
About This Song
“Happiness is a Thing Called Joe” was written in 1940 by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg. It’s from the 1940 Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky, starring Ethel Waters and Dooley Wilson. The song was introduced by Ethel Waters, sung to her husband Joe, played by Dooley Wilson. The 1943 film version of Cabin in the Sky also featured Miss Waters with the role of Joe played by Eddie Anderson.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe” in 1959 with Ralph Sharon. The two booked the CBS 30th Street Studio to record. Sharon brought in a briefcase of sheet music and they chose a song, found a good key, and recorded the songs in one or two takes. In a single session, they recorded 16 songs. Twelve of those songs were released, finally, in the 1961 album Tony Sings For Two.
Bennett tells this story in his autobiography The Good Life:
Mitch Miller showed up at the start of these sessions, furious that I was really going through with it. When he saw there was no dissuading me, he turned to Frank Laico and said, ‘I’m leaving. I can’t support this.’ Tony Sings For Two turned out to be one of the my finest records ever.
Listen to Happiness Is A Thing Called Joe – Remastered on Spotify. Tony Bennett · Song · 1961.
“Happiness is a Thing Called Joe,” as well as Tony Sings For Two, is available from Apple Music.